Taxpayers Hit the Woof Over Doggie Shakespeare
What do Congress and the San Francisco Symphony have in common? They’re both pouring money down the tubas! That’s just one way spending is reaching a crescendo, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) points out in his latest waste report. Turns out, taxpayers are getting burned more than the pale people NIH spent $1.1 million studying (p. 51). And while Republicans have managed to rein in some spending, the list of 100 projects is like the $1.4 billion trolley track: a rail piece of work (p. 25).
Although Republicans have managed to rein in some of the runaway spending, plenty of congressmen are still dipping into taxpayers’ pockets to deliver gifts to the special interest in their lives. And thanks to Sen. Lankford, Congress has 400 billion reasons to do something about it.
It can start by reeling in the Stickleback fish grants, which, at $2.6 million and counting, is hardly scaling back. NSF insists it costs that much to study fish’s habitats, but we still give them a failing report cod. At $30,000, the NEA’s production of “Doggie Hamlet” seems like a bark-ain, but when the country’s $20 trillion in debt, it’s hardly mutt ado about nothing (p. 2). If anyone needs to be on a leash, it’s Congress! Over at NIH, $52 million isn’t chump change, it’s chimp change for the National Center for Chimpanzee Care — a luxurious retirement home for 139 animals formerly used for research. Although the testing is over, the agency is continuing its tradition of sending $2.5 million a year. At an ape-surd $18,700 per animal, Lankford argues it’d be cheaper to enroll them in college!
In Iraq, good things come to those Kuwait. That’s where more than $1 billion of the Defense Department’s equipment went missing. It’s a farewell to small arms in the region, which also lost mortars and Humvees, costing G.I. Joe some major G.I. dough (p. 9). And you can file these under NIH’s rapidly expanding list of we-knew-it-but-we-feel-so-much-better-paying-millions-to-prove-it studies. Among their groundbreaking research, scientists spent $2.3 million confirming that people who exercise lose weight (p. 45), and dating men prefer younger, thinner women (p. 34). You can follow both studies under their official hashtag, #duh.
Taxpayers are no dummies, but they’re paying for plenty of them with NEH’s puppet project. At $74,851, there are definitely strings attached (p. 3). Paint misbehavin’ at the $20,000 art camp for adults interested in climate change (p. 15) — and more shock and draw at the EPA, where taxpayers helped “immerse artists in a multi-scale investigation of transportation systems, community, and governance related to the impacts of climate change” (p. 23).
NSF got in on the ground flora with its $475,142 plant-naming program (p. 23), and it’s crops and robbers at the Department of Agriculture’s specialty farming initiative (p. 14). But the last straw may have been the federal grazing program, which has been milking taxpayers for years. When private ranchers pay to let their cattle roam on federal land, Lankford points out, the government pays $77.1 million more to operate the program than it collects! No wonder Congress has fallen on herd times.
As Sen. Tom Coburn used to say, sometimes it feels like the only change Congress cares about is in your pocket! But, as Lankford points out in his Federal Fumbles, there has been forward progress. As many as 16 of the government’s money pits have abolished their programs or put them on the path to extinction. Now, with Donald Trump in the White House and a budget bill in the pipeline, let’s hope both parties look at this report and make a resolution to cut back in the New Year! If they don’t, it’ll take a lot more than $742.9 million to improve Congress’s image (p. 50).
Originally published here.
The Left’s New Abortion Orthodoxy
After eight years of over-the-top extremism, the Left is making it quite clear: You ain’t seen nothing yet. If you thought the last two Democratic platforms alienated moderates, wait until you see next year’s elections. That’s where the party hopes to take out some of its own and replace them with radicals whose agenda on abortion is: not safe, not rare — and always legal!
That’s bad news for pro-life Democrats like Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), one of the few remaining socially conservative Democrats in Congress. And, if NARAL and MoveOn.org get their way, the last. Groups across the far-left spectrum are funneling all of their money to primary Lipinski, who’s been a reliable member on everything from abortion limits to same-sex marriage. But, as this coalition is proving, there’s no room in the Democratic Party for anything but full-throttled extremism. “Time is up for Congressman Lipinski. For too long, Dan Lipinski has ignored the needs of working families across Illinois, by pushing his fringe ideological agenda at the expense of women and families across the state,” according to NARAL President Ilyse Hogue.
Fringe agenda? As usual, liberal Democrats are trying to connect with a country that overwhelmingly supports the abortion restrictions its party does not. After last November’s election, most pundits thought Hillary Clinton’s crowd would learn its lesson about no-limits abortion and transgender fanaticism. Instead, it’s still following the far-Left into some of the most radical terrain on social issues ever broached. Welcome to the new Democratic orthodoxy, where dissent — even of the reasonable variety — is not tolerated.
In the last election, voters made Clinton’s party pay for not practicing the diversity it preaches. An agenda that bucks the mildest regulations on abortion, forces taxpayers into a financial partnership with the abortion industry and promotes the killing of children up to the moment of birth may be where the Democratic Party is, but it’s not where Americans are. We’re seeing that play out right now in Alabama, where liberals thought the allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican Roy Moore would be enough to destroy his career, let alone his candidacy. But, as more columnists are pointing out, abortion is becoming a “firewall issue” for the former chief justice of the state.
Moore, who is adamantly pro-life, is quite a contrast to opponent Doug Jones, who thinks it should be legal to slaughter babies seconds away from birth. That may prove too much for Alabamans, who, The Hill newspaper explains, overwhelmingly (58 percent) think abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances. In fact, it points out from polling, Alabama is more pro-life than “all but three states in the country.”
Most people aren’t going to overlook potential misconduct, but late-term abortion is a bridge too far for many Alabamans. Susan Fillipelli, a former member of the state’s GOP steering committee, says voters are fired up about Jones’s stance — so much, she thinks, that it may overcome any of the long shadows hanging over Moore’s campaign. When Susan announced that she was sitting the special election out, fellow Republicans were frustrated. “The pushback I get is, ‘You are going to make sure an abortionist gets into office.’ That comes back as the No. 1 issue that people push back on,‘” she said.
The contrast between the two parties on the fundamental issue of life has never been clearer.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.